Fingers Crossed

These are not my fingers, or my backside (picture source:

These are not my fingers, or my backside (picture source:

So here we are. I’ve finally done it. Having spent the last couple of weeks interrogating the Writers and Artists Yearbook (2014, no less), polishing my letter of introduction, squeezing my 85,000 word book into a one and a half page plot synopsis, succumbing to doubts about the merit of my work and researching self-publishing, procrastinating (lost of procrastinating, and eventually building up the courage, I’ve just sent submissions to four literary agents in the hope that one will bite.

And after all the stress and anxiety, I feel fine. My requests have flown, there is nothing I can do now but sit back and wait. I’d like to say that sending them now was part of a cunning plan to take advantage of the fact that most other writers are too engaged with NaNoWriMo to send in submissions, but that would be a lie. It just happened this way.

Why only send to four? Why not to forty? Well I decided to take some advice from the wonderful Jools of A Writer’s Notepad fame, and test the waters with the view to adapting my approach based on feedback, rather than potentially blowing it all in one go. Plus there aren’t forty who will take my book. One of the most depressing parts of the process has been reading agent descriptions which say “interested in all commercial and literary fiction (no science fiction, fantasy or horror).” I don’t see my book as Science Fiction, it is a political thriller. But it is set in the future, it does have a lot of future technology integral to the plot, so it would be an argument I know I would lose. My next book should be easier. It’s a contemporary thriller; everybody wants one of those.

I’ll keep you up to date with how it goes and try not to be too despondent when the rejections arrive (I’m not being negative, just realistic). In the meanwhile I’ll carry on with the new book and keep reading up on self-publishing. It’s good to be prepared.

16 thoughts on “Fingers Crossed

  1. Dylan… firstly you say such nice things – for which, I thank you! I’m almost (almost…) as excited for you, as I am for me. We are indeed on the same adventure at the same time, and I feel your pain in squeezing those 85,000 words into a crushingly bijou synopsis. If your blog posts are anything to go by, your novel will be a joy to read – I’ll be at the front of the queue for my signed copy. I sincerely hope you see success via the traditional agency/publisher route and I look forward to sharing the ups and downs with you. Good luck!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Jools. It is a big adventure and as long as we treat it as such, we should be fine.
      Writing the synopsis was heartbreaking. All subtext was lost as I clarified the main plot points. I understand the need for it but i hope my novel won’t be judged on the strength of that alone as it felt soulless in that form.
      My fingers are also crossed for you, and I promise not to be too green with envy when you get your deal.

      • I too grappled in frustration with with the challenge of the synopsis. But don’t be discouraged. Apparently the order of play when it comes to assessing a submission is (1) the query email – mainly for reassurance that you’re not one of the green-ink brigade, (2) the sample – to evaluate your writing skills, and last of all, only once they already like your writing, (3) the synopsis.

  2. I wish you luck! I’m currently doing the same thing, but I’ve only sent to one agent so far because I wanted to query him exclusively before I send it to some others. But the waiting is so hard!

    • Thanks, Carrie, and all the best of luck to you too. At this moment in time I would be happy with a request for the full manuscript (unless, dear agent, you are reading this and want to offer me a deal) because it would be some form of validation of my writing. Please keep us all posted with how it goes.

  3. Fingers and toes crossed for you Dylan. You are very brave – taking the plunge and sending your work out there is a huge step towards publishing your novel – wishing you lots of success. 🙂

  4. Waiting is such a difficult thing, isn’t it, especially when the matter in hand is, even temporarily, out of control. Does one fret, remain anxious, self-doubt? Or do we go for a I’m-cool-Whatever-It’s-no-big-deal attitude.
    Either way it’s still stress. I empathise. And commiserate. And wish you luck (even though I don’t believe in luck).

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